Selah March

April 12, 2009

Amazonfail/Amazon Rank + review of YotC

UPDATE II: The LA Times weighs in.

UPDATE: Smart Bitches attempt Google bomb = Amazon rank.

So, how long do you think the Taliban-esque branch of the conservative right wing has had Jeff Bezos’ balls in their pocket? Check here for bits and pieces of the sad tale. Outrage is rampant, petitions are circulating, the media has been alerted. We’ll see if it does any good.

And incidentally, if the stated goal is to protect the kiddies, then WTF is up with some of the titles that still have rankings and searchability?  Check this list. Talk about lame. Seriously…if you’re gonna cave to the wing-nuts, at least be efficient about it. Nobody respects a half-assed effort at pandering and cowardice.

Also, Twitter is abuzz with the news. Or atweet. Whatever.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. We’re Orthodox Christian, so our fast begins today and our Easter is a week from today. Less crowded grocery aisles! Cheaper legs o’ lamb! Rabbit-shaped chocolate on clearance! It’s a good thing.

I got an early gift from Teh Bunny in the form of a thoughtful, amazingly insightful review from Kassa for Year of the Cat. Just what I needed to warm me on a chilly, gray day.

March 16, 2009

Grrr. Argh. Plus! Actual content.

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Industry,Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 6:48 pm

I caught a nasty undercurrent of that whole “authors need to keep their mouths shut lest they alienate readers” thing again today, and it made me a little sick inside – particularly since the conversation was about ebook piracy. Apparently, authors just need to suck it up, buttercup, because the last thing readers want to hear is that we’re pissed over thievery.

I don’t understand this attitude, especially coming from an industry professional whose livelihood is tied to the success of epublishing.

To paraphrase author Ann Vremont, alienated readers aren’t the problem, from a business standpoint – alienated BUYERS (and potential buyers) are the problem. Is a buyer/potential buyer going to be offended because I come out strongly against ebook piracy? Why? They’re willing to pay for the books they read. Ebook piracy hurts them, too, because it causes prices to rise, the same way insurance fraud causes premiums to rise. It’s caused at least one author to reconsider writing an entire series because the profit/loss margin was too thin. So buyers and potential buyers who are willing to pay me for my work should be just as unhappy about piracy as I am.

But if the readers this industry pro was talking about are the ones who steal books, well, then…fuck ’em. Let ’em be alienated. They’ve already alienated me, and no lame-ass justification like “but if I like what I steal, I may pay for it later,” is going to change that.

I know I can be offensive as hell, in that whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” way of women everywhere. I know it’s probably cost me a few sales. I know it’s made me a few sales, too. There are companies to which I’d never bother submitting my work because I find the comments and behavior of some of their employees off-putting. I have no doubt at least one or two of these same companies would reject my work only because it’s mine. So we’re all in agreement, and I’m good with the balance.

And digital thieves can still blow me.  🙂

***

New reviews:

4 Stars from BookWenches for Year of the Cat: “Selah March’s Year of the Cat takes the fairytale Puss and Boots and stands it on its ear. This is not the children’s story that many of us grew up loving; this is a much darker tale filled with anger and violence… For all its dark overtones and BDSM theme, this is a very well-done and enjoyable story about love and the transforming nature of sacrifice made in the name of love. Ms. March has done a fantastic and clever job of weaving a fairytale out of Year of the Cat. The tone is very matter-of-fact and “once upon a time,” even though the subject matter is a little startling. This has a distinct feeling of being the dark counterpart to the Puss in Boots tale, and I was thrilled to be able to pick out similarities in plot between the two stories.

If you are a fan of the fairytale, I recommend that you give Year of the Cat a shot. It will give you a whole new outlook on Puss in Boots that has nothing to do with cartoon tabby cats who sound suspiciously like Antonio Banderas. Well done, Ms. March. I look forward to your next offering!” ~B.D. Whitney

4.5 Stars from Reviews by Jessewave for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: “I’m not a huge fan of mysteries or horror stories, but the very aptly named Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was an enthralling read that kept me wide-eyed and reading voraciously to find out what happens next. I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. March.” ~emmyjag

Finally, I have a guest blog up this week at BookWenches on the subject of antagonists, villains and anti-heroes. I tried not to sound like my senior year English teacher. I suspect I failed.

February 10, 2009

Help. There’s a piano in my kitchen and I can’t get up.

Filed under: Family,Fictionwise,New release,Reviews,Writing — Selah March @ 5:05 pm

Let me ‘splain.

No, there is too much.

Let me sum up.

It’s not a large kitchen. Not for a family of five. Which makes sense, as it’s in the middle of a rather small house – too small to easily accommodate even relatively slight renovations like the refinishing of floors and the painting of rooms while said family is in residence.

And yet…

The piano? It doesn’t fit in any room that isn’t currently undergoing renovation. Except, of course, the kitchen. Which is also the only room where there is currently any seating. And the room where the dogs live. And the room where the kids do their homework, and my husband does charting late into the night.

*whimper*

It gives a whole new perspective on how the pioneers lived, which is to say ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.

Me? I like my solitude. Over the past ten days, when I’m not struggling to put a meal on the covered-with-sawdust table or fighting for three square feet around the sink to wash dishes, I’ve been locked in my bedroom – and sometimes my van – trying to write.

IT’S NOT GOING WELL.

Another week and it’s all over. No more floor-sanders or paint fumes or workmen in their BIG, LOUD BOOTS. The piano returns to its rightful place of honor in the space that once was a dining room and is now a family room-slash-office. No more hot dogs served in the master bedroom because the kitchen table is unusable. No more drinking straight from the two-liter bottle of Coke Zero so I have fewer dishes to wash.

So to everyone whose emails and phone messages I’ve read and heard but didn’t have time to answer, and all my crit partners whose work I’ve neglected in the midst of my season in Renovation Hell, I apologize, and plead extenuating circumstances (several of which I haven’t mentioned here). I’ll get with you shortly and spill all the horrific details.

That’s not a promise. More of a threat, in fact.


In the meantime, YEAR OF THE CAT made Amber Allure’s Top Ten Bestseller list for January, and garnered a couple of really nice reviews.

4 Stars from Rainbow Reviews: “Year of the Cat is the tale of Etienne and Jacques, their adventures, and is, in the end, a tale of love and redemption. Full of densely woven images, [Year of the Cat] does not disappoint.” ~Carole, Rainbow Reviews

4.5 Nymphs from Literary Nymphs: “Selah March writes of love, betrayal, forgiveness and personal-growth in Year of the Cat. Etienne has lived in his books and has no ‘street smarts’. Jacques has lived, done what he must to survive and has no qualms taking necessary risks. From the moment they met, Jacques felt something for the younger man that he wasn’t ready to identify. There were moments where I wanted to hit Jacques with a skillet, but I had to remember this was Etienne’s adventure; his time to learn and grow. There were hard lessons and sacrifices made by both men, but love is a powerful tool. This is definitely a story you don’t want to miss.” ~Scandalous Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews

Also, WILD HORSES is now available at Fictionwise.

***

One week. I hear that’s a century in piano-in-the-kitchen years.

December 15, 2008

Kibbles and Bits III

Filed under: blah blah blah,Industry,Reviews,shameless bragging,Writing — Selah March @ 8:11 pm

“I’ll come ’round sometime and get that squeak outta yer door.” ~Roux, Chocolat

One of the most suggestive lines of dialogue ever uttered in a movie. Of course, Johnny Depp’s filthy smirk helps the innuendo along, as does the long, loving look he gives Juliette Binoche’s ass as he says it, but still it makes me positively puce with envy every single time. Why can’t I write a line as witty and sexy as that?

Chocolat is one of my favorite flicks, not only for the subtle use of imagery within its language, but also for its amazing visuals. Where else does the dipping of a ladle into a basin of liquid chocolate evoke a slow, sweet fuck between strangers?

I’m trying to capture that kind of imagery in my current WIP, Year of the Cat — a homoerotic, BDSM-infused retelling of Perrault’s Puss in Boots. (Wipe from your minds Antonio Banderas’ cutesy performance in Shrek 2. Adorable as he is, I’m going for something darker and more sexually menacing in a hero this time around. And as a matter of fact, Johnny Depp fills that bill nicely…though not the Chocolat version. I’ve dug out my DVD copy of The Libertine and I’m watching it compulsively…right up to the part where syphilis-stricken-Johnny’s nose starts to rot off his face. Then I hit rewind because we’re writing erotic romance here, and reality – no matter how historically accurate – need not apply.)

Anyway. The kind of visceral imagery found in Chocolat isn’t easy to translate to the page. I’ve tried before and failed. How does one capture the glint of moonlight off a devilish grin, or the exact shade of a pink in a young man’s (or woman’s, but this month we’re all about the boysexin’) cheeks as he offers up his virtue to a cruel, mysterious stranger?

Meh. I’ll keep trying.

In the meantime, this is verra verra interesting (thanks for the heads up from Karlene at RD): http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6622447.html

“Running Press is getting into the fiction market with what it sees as a unique twist in historical romance — gay fiction written by and for straight women. The idea for the line came from Running president Jon Anderson and is based on what he sees as the growing interest in M/M stories reflected in the success of such projects as Brokeback Mountain and the television series Brothers and Sisters. Anderson has acquired the first titles in the line, which will be edited by Lisa Clancy, associate editorial director. The series will launch in April with Transgressions and False Colors. Two more titles are set for fall 2009.

Running v-p and associate publisher Craig Herman said the series will be positioned as a subgenre within romance and while the books will be ‘erotic, they will not be hardcover explicit,’ Herman explained. Running will promote the line through traditional romance outlets including advertising in Romantic Times and outreach through regional RWA chapters. Noting that the books will be shelved in the romance section rather than the erotica section, Running said the book will be ‘created to mirror romance novels, not gay erotica.’”

I’m pleased by this news, especially in light of a recent, rather discouraging discussion at RTB in which certain folks insisted M/M romance would never be a player in “traditional” romance publishing. And while Running Press isn’t Random House or Harper Collins, it’s a foot in the door, no?

So, yes, I’ve decided to be heartened. Mock my optimism at your peril, for ’tis a hormonal sort of day here at Dubious Virtue.

In other news, I’ve finally crossed over to the Dark Side that is LiveJournal. (See?? The color-scheme sort-of-almost MATCHES. But I have yet to receive my promised cookie.) And I’m on Goodreads, too, which is (apparently) like Facebook/MySpace, except less with the random hookups and more with the reading.

Finally, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot continues to accrue strokes and nuzzles and hair-pats from the romance review community. Me LIKEY.

“Readers who love a good horror story are going to find Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Selah March to be a custom fit. This is a spine-chilling novella that puts its characters through a wringer and doesn’t let up on them for the duration of the story. Tom Mulvaney is somewhat pompous and arrogant, but he has a hidden insecurity that the entity is able to ferret out and use against him. Leo, who Tom calls a “brooding psychic Wonder Boy”, is a very reserved man with a stutter. When the evil spirit takes over his body, he loses the stutter and becomes much more aggressive, and this transformation is fascinating to watch as is the effect that it has on Tom. As the story progresses, the tension mounts to almost the point of combustion. Ms. March has portrayed evil very well, and this reader stayed glued to the story in horrified fascination until the very end. Well done!” ~4 Angels from Whitney at Fallen Angel Reviews

“Selah March has a written story that is sensual, exciting and chilling all at the same time. There were times when I was truly scared while reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The haunted house takes on a life of its own. The sexual chemistry between Leo and Tom is exciting and very hot and I also enjoyed following the development of their relationship as they grow closer. This story had me on the edge of my seat until the end.” ~4 Blue Ribbons from Christina at Romance Junkies

November 10, 2008

Color me squee-ful!

Filed under: New release,Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 10:16 am

My first 5-star review from Rainbow Reviews!

“Despite the unfortunate title [yeah, my sense of humor is an acquired taste, I get that ~SM], this is a first rate paranormal adventure! The story is somewhat reminiscent of “The Haunting” a terrifying haunted house movie from the early 60s, not the less than stellar remake from the 90s! [Actually, it was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s book, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (see here) upon which “The Haunting” was based, and maybe a little by Richard Matheson’s HELL HOUSE ~SM] However, as far as inspirational material for a scary story, you can’t do much better than “The Haunting” [agreed ~SM].

As in that story, there are five people sent to a house that is reputed to be haunted – one who believes that the house desires to keep them forever. Also, similar to “The Haunting,” there is relatively no blood; the terror is almost, but not quite all psychological – whispered words inside their heads, remembrances and impressions of terrible deeds.

So, whether “The Haunting” inspired it or not, this is a well-written, scary story peopled with great characters. A favorite was Leo, a gay psychic from New Orleans who is described as six-foot-three, two hundred twenty pounds, and “built like a Calvin Klein model crossed with a starting forward for the Celtics.” With a southern accent, good looks and an occasional stutter when he speaks, Leo is irresistible. [What? No love for Tommy, the bad-boy ghostbuster from South Boston? *sigh* Better luck next time, dude. ~SM]

The plot is wonderful. The events happen fast and furious; it really kept my interest. Within moments of entering the house, things start occurring and hardly let up until the last page. Things are never what they seem and that kept me engaged and guessing [I love it when a plan comes together. ~SM].

This is a great roller-coaster ride – a scary haunted house, some hot sex, and surprises around every corner. I highly recommend this story!” ~Matthew, Rainbow Reviews

Thank you, Matthew, wherever you are!

October 9, 2008

Return of The LOSER.

Filed under: New release,Reviews — Selah March @ 4:59 pm

I fail at life. And certainly at blogging. But at least I’m woman enough to admit it, right?

RIGHT??

Couple things:

THERE CAME A KILLING FROST is Joyfully Recommended:

THERE CAME A KILLING FROST was so enjoyable that I didn’t want to put it down.  Kit and Lourdes were amazing together, sheer electricity and dynamite.  Ms. March has done a great job in rounding them out by developing these characters with credible intensity.  I can tell this author has feelings for the people and world she’s created.  Kit’s character made me fall in love with cowboys again.  I stopped gravitating towards westerns unless they’re the old school spaghetti films.  Placing the old west into the future with Kit and Lourdes, adds freshness.

Lourdes is tough and unspoiled despite her sordid life.  She’s a realist and I appreciate what she’s willing to sacrifice for Kit, and vice versa.  I was glad that they got to fly off into the sunset together.

I Joyfully Recommend THERE CAME A KILLING FROST for its strong visual writing and sharp dialogue.  The sex scenes burn hotter than a furnace, the villains would fit right in with Lee Van Cleef, and no one would remember Clint Eastwood after taking a turn with Kit Frost.” ~Patrice for Joyfully Reviewed (Link to full review.)

Also, cover art for upcoming Halloween release, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT:

Contemporary erotic paranormal romance (M/M).

Just in time for Halloween, the story of a reluctant psychic and a ghostbuster with attitude trapped in a house of horrors… Leo Delacroix regrets the day he discovered his psychic talents. Being called on to find missing loved ones and rid houses of angry spirits is messy, exhausting work. But he knows it would be wrong to turn away from his gifts when he’s helping so many people.

Tommy Mulvaney knows something about regret, too. He regrets not being there to save his sister, Missy, the night she was pushed from a balcony by unseen hands. He regrets Missy’s anger and frustration at being out of commission and unable to run the family paranormal investigation business. Mostly, he regrets that it’s Missy in the wheelchair and not him.

When Leo and Tommy meet at Nil-Chance, a house with a dark and sordid history, they find the attraction between them to be undeniable. But before they can explore their feelings for each other, they must defeat whatever haunts Nil-Chance…or die trying.

Available October 26 from Amber Allure.

Excerpt coming soon.

July 31, 2008

Drive-by shameless self-promo.

Filed under: Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 11:07 pm

~Romance Junkies does WILD HORSES:

WILD HORSES is the follow up to SEVEN YEAR ACHE. I loved this story because while you still get to visit the beloved characters from SEVEN YEAR ACHE there are new memorable characters introduced with heartbreaking backgrounds which bring tears to your eyes. Kris struck me as a fun loving singer down on his luck. He doesn’t follow the rules and takes risks that most people would have shied away from. Blake’s grief and loneliness is evident throughout the story. He takes his friend’s death personally and his friends don’t seem to know how to handle him or what he needs. Selah March satisfies our need to know more about what happened with Jamie, Rafe and Lilah and still capture the intensity of the growing love between Kris and Blake. Add in several frat boys who don’t know how to behave themselves and things are bound to get real interesting very quickly.

While WILD HORSES can be read as a stand-alone story, I’d recommend reading SEVEN YEAR ACHE as well so that you’ll have a better understanding of what happened with Jamie, Rafe and Lilah.” ~Chrissy Dionne for Romance Junkies

* * *

~Rainbow Reviews does it, too.

“[WILD HORSES is a] …welcome sequel/spin off to Selah March’s SEVEN YEAR ACHE. We get to catch up with the turbulent lives of JT and Rafe, but the main focus is on Kris and Blake, an unlikely pairing if ever there was one.

At first things don’t go well for the two and I wanted to reach into the screen and bang their heads together. Even when they start talking and, uh, other things, they’re still not out of the woods, and the desire to bang their heads returns.

The characters don’t live neat cookie-cutter lives. They have real issues and don’t always resolve them comfortably. The gritty reality of the story is one of its greatest strengths. Along with the romance of course.” ~British Bulldog for Rainbow Reviews

July 26, 2007

Review: THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES

The theory behind THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES — three well-known authors (Jenny Crusie, Eileen Dreyer, Anne Stuart) combine talents to create a single novel — is like opening a menu and finding your three favorite desserts combined into one. (In my case, it would be a honkin’ slice of sour cream lemon meringue-hot fudge sundae-cheesecake, but you’re not here to find out how I flirt with diabetic coma on a weekly basis, so never mind.)

You think, “Wow. All three at once. I wonder how that’ll taste…” And so you order it and you dig in and lo and behold…it ain’t bad. In fact, parts of it are downright tasty.

I’ve read a little Dreyer and a little more Stuart, and liked them both. I’m an inveterate Crusie fan, though, so I expected to love the Crusie contribution best. I wasn’t wrong. The characters she created in Mare Fortune, Crash (Mare’s one true love), and a cast of wacky supporting actors are the sour cream lemon meringue pie my grandmother made for every birthday I celebrated between ages five and twenty.

My next favorite was Anne Stuart’s contribution in the character of Lizzie. I guess she’d be the hot fudge sundae with homemade vanilla ice cream drowned in fudge made from real dark chocolate. Maybe some coconut flakes for texture. I found Lizzie loveable, if a little more dim than I generally like my heroines. Her soulmate, Elric, tended toward the typical paranormal alpha male — inscrutable, arrogant and more than a little annoying at times, but I forgave him eventually. All in all, a solid effort.

Finally, Dreyer’s eldest sister, Dee, was my least favorite of the trio, which is not to say I didn’t like her…because hello? Cheesecake? The really good kind, straight from New York? But she’s a frustrating character for me, forever trapped by her own sense of responsibility and guilt, and carrying secrets alone, and I dunno…cardigan sweaters and her hair in a bun? Really? It made me want to rebel in solidarity with eldest sisters everywhere. Plus, her interactions with her one true love tended to be a little on the repetitive side. But hey…even when every bite of cheesecake is the same as the last, who’s complaining?

Together the three sisters were a delight. With a villainess, Xantippe, who is the perfect cup of espresso — dark, bitter, and cleansing to the palate between bites of confection — this book can’t miss. If I were a real reviewer giving it a real grade…hmmm…four and a half maraschino cherries out of five.

I highly recommend THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES.

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

November 2, 2006

Butter my ass and call me a biscuit!

Filed under: blah blah blah,Freebie,Reviews,RT,Writing — Selah March @ 8:44 am
Tags:

A few months ago, I went all twitchy because I’d just submitted LIE TO ME to Romantic Times Book Reviews and was unsure about its reception there. This was my first go-round with the magazine, and as much as all review submissions are a crapshoot relying on subjective opinion (is that a redundancy? I think it is.) I was especially nervous about this one given its potential to affect sales. Erotic romance told from first person point of view isn’t altogether common, and my heroine is not what you’d call “likeable” right off the bat. I was prepared to receive 3 stars, and was steeling myself for 2.

Damned if Leigh Rowling, RT’s “Erotica” reviewer, didn’t up and give LIE TO ME 4 whole stars.

She says:
“With its fast start, good suspense elements and strong erotic tone, March’s story will keep readers well entertained.


Drew Donnelly and MJ Peters are about to get up close and personal. The question is, does Drew know MJ’s secrets before he seduces her? Also, what will she do when she discovers the truth about Drew? This smart-mouthed, sarcastic woman has good reason for the secrets in her life. Before Drew showed up in her small town, she was doing pretty well. With him in her bed and now in her head, all that is about to be shaken up.”

To celebrate, I immediately went online and bought a two-year subscription to the magazine. And had some tequila.

Not necessarily in that order.

If you get a spare minute, check out the free story (titled Dark of the Day) I’ve posted as part of the 2006 PBW Ebook Challenge. It will be a permanent part of my website, but it’s specially written for this time of year…the dark, windy days of November in the northern part of North America. (Those of you living in New Zealand and Australia can maybe pretend it’s May.)

Have a lovely Thursday. 🙂

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

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